Aug 19, 2020
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Dufry to buy rest of American peer Hudson in $311m deal

Aug 19, 2020

Swiss travel retail giant Dufry has agreed to buy the rest of its Hudson Ltd unit for $7.70 per share in an all-cash deal worth around $311 million. Dufry currently owns 57.4% of the US firm. This will delist Hudson from the New York Stock Exchange, the group said on Wednesday.


Hudson is a North American “travel experience leader” with more than 1,000 stores in airports, commuter hubs, landmarks and tourist destinations,

"The delisting of Hudson is part of Dufry's current re-organisation and is intended to further simplify its corporate structure and align its operations to the new business environment," the Swiss firm said. It added that a planned rights issue to fund the deal had been fully underwritten by UBS and Credit Suisse.

That “new business environment” has seen the sands shifting radically for duty-free retailers.

The move comes as travel retail remains one of the sectors to suffer most from the pandemic. Formerly one of the top-performing sectors, the near-shutdown of global tourism and business travel has hit it hard. 

And beyond the retailers themselves, this shutdown has also dented sales of high-end accessories and beauty products. Fragrances, skincare and cosmetics are all among the biggest sellers (usually) at airports, on planes and on ships. The fashion accessories sector and the holiday clothing category are also major players in travel retail with the usual fast-shifting bags, small leathergoods, scarves, swimwear, watches and jewellery having sat unsold on store shelves since lockdowns began.

The easing of restrictions has brought some relief but travel retail sales remain well below normal levels.

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